An Open Letter to Netgalley and Goodreads

Dear Netgalley and Goodreads, 

Today I discovered that your sites will no longer be providing services (or limiting services) to international readers and I am absolutely devastated.

Contrary to popular belief, America is not the only country in the world.

For those who are unaware of what is happening, Goodreads will, from January 2018, prevent authors from creating giveaways for international readers. Basically, authors will have to pay $119 for a giveaway base package, and $599 for the premium. Previously, all authors had to pay for was shipping. Read more here.

Netgalley, on the other hand, has severely limited the amount of e-ARCs an international blogger can request – instead, bloggers will now have to use the ‘Wish’ button and pray the publisher grants their request. For those who are frequent users of Netgalley, you know how hard it is to have a wish granted. I myself has been using Netgalley for over a year and have never had a wish granted.

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I cannot understand the reasoning behind these decisions, and, in fact, neither company has offered an adequate response. (As of the writing of this letter, I have scoured Netgalley’s blog and have not found an explanation for this decision. If you find a post, or see that Netgalley has explained, please link me.)

Netgalley and Goodreads may have a good reason for making these changes (that they are neglecting to share with the public), but what I don’t think they understand is that their decisions have a trickle-down effect. By giving access to ARCs to only American bloggers/reviewers, and by preventing international readers from entering giveaways, these two decisions – that may seem small right now – have a much larger effect.

Below is a list of TEN reasons as to why Netgalley and Goodreads should reconsider their decisions. 

(NOTE: This post may come across as anti-American, but I promise it’s not. This is not directed at any specific American bloggers, but rather the system that prioritises them over literally the rest of the world.)

1. International bloggers/reviewers are already disadvantaged 

Book bloggers and reviewers are a massive part of the online book industry, but we are constantly pushed aside to make way for American bloggers.

America, through no fault of it’s own, has a ginormous, thriving publishing industry. I would say the only other country’s industry that could possibly rival America’s is that of England’s.

It is extremely difficult for an international blogger/reviewer to get their hands on a physical ARC from their native country’s publishing company, so we often rely on services like Netgalley – and even giveaways from Goodreads – to get our hands on an ARC.

Have you ever browsed through the #arcsfortrade tag on Twitter and taken a look at the sheer number of American bloggers/reviewers trading ARCs? I have, and I’ve been forced to mute the tag due to how upsetting I find that entire exchange. I hope no American bloggers who partake in this exchange are offended by what I am about to say, but it comes across as these bloggers are (unintentionally) shoving their advantages in my face and the faces of all international readers and bloggers. It really hurts.

2. It’s e-ARCs not physical ARCs

One of the biggest sources of confusion for Netgalley’s decision to limit the ability of international bloggers to request ARCs stems from the fact that Netgalley provides e-ARCs of novels, not physical copies. That means that there is no shipping fees involved in sending a blogger an ARC.

So why limit access to ARCs? It makes no sense.

Bloggers are a tight-nit community. When I see a fellow blogger of mine rave about an ARC, I immediately load up Netgalley and search for the book. Then I log onto Goodreads and read the reviews. Then I (usually) request the ARC. It’s word-of-mouth advertising.

3. It’s difficult for international bloggers/reviewers to break into the publishing industry 

I can’t speak on behalf of all international bloggers out there, but for myself, blogging is not a hobby – it’s a chance for me to show off my work ethic, my love of books, and my dedication to publishing, as I hope to secure a job in the industry one day.

By limiting the amount of ARCs I can request, my blog will deteriorate. 80% of my blog’s traffic stems from people searching for reviews of ARCs. In fact, out of the 10 most popular reviews on my blog, seven of these are ARC reviews – ironically, five of these ARCs were provided to me via Netgalley. 

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(Please don’t judge me too harshly on the lower numbers – they’re from my first year of blogging.)

Now that my access to ARCs is limited, there goes a lot of my traffic.

4. It’s difficult for authors to break out into the international market

Feel free to disagree with me, but having a book that appeals to only one country seems silly and counterproductive. By providing ARCs to only one portion of reviewers, authors that are attempting to break into the international market are severely thwarted.

It’s important to me that Netgalley and Goodreads understand that books are not just sold in America. By restricting ARCs and giveaways to American bloggers only, you are not only alienating international readers, you are effecting the success of an author and limiting their ability to breakout into the international market the way popular authors, Sarah J. Maas, Maggie Stiefvater, and Benjamin Alire Saenz, have.

5. Free marketing

This is such an obvious reason, but I feel like it must be said:

PROVIDING ARCS TO BLOGGERS = FREE MARKETING FOR THE BOOK

Why limit the amount of free marketing a novel will receive? That will only hurt the book.

When I really love a book, I go above and beyond to ensure as many people as possible are exposed to that book. This is doubly so for ARCs. I participate in blog tours, author interviews, guest posts, and I spend (honest to god) days writing a review because I love the book that is about to be published, and I want everyone to read it.

By denying international readers, bloggers and reviewers the same opportunities as American bloggers, Netgalley and Goodreads are essentially saying that they don’t value the international market, or even the success of the author.

6. Publishing becomes less diverse

If you only give access to ARCs to American bloggers, these bloggers apply their American-centric point of view to the story, whether or not they’re conscious of it. Silvia @ Silvia Reads Books wrote an amazing article about this issue (which I highly suggest you read), but to summarise the article:

(NOTE: This is not to say all American bloggers do the following, but when I limit my search of reviews to JUST American bloggers, these issues become more apparent, whether the reviewer is conscious of it or not. If you’re American, please don’t take offence, but rather consider reflecting upon the following points, and make an effort to view books and issues from a non-American POV, the way international readers make an effort to view books from an American POV.) 

  1. A majority of American readers place their modern-day, Anglo-Saxon/Protestant/Caucasian values on a piece of writing.
  2. International bloggers/reviewers have taken to viewing media and literature through an American-centric lens, as the American POV has become so pervasive.
  3. A majority of American readers don’t seem to make an effort to understand the context and the value of a non-American novel.

As Netgalley and Goodreads will now prioritise American bloggers, they are limiting a story from being read from other perspectives.

For e.g., I am Italian, and if I were to write a novel about an Italian woman attempting to escape life in the Mafia, is a publisher really only going to want an American-centric POV of that novel? Or would they rather hear from an Italian blogger/reviewer?

7. Net neutrality 

Bear with me here, because this point gets a little philosophical, but I believe I’m onto something.

Net neutrality is a principle that allows us to communicate online freely. It means

… an internet that enables and protects free speech. It means that ISPs should provide us with open networks — and shouldn’t block or discriminate against any applications or content that ride over those networks. Just as your phone company shouldn’t decide who you call and what you say on that call, your ISP shouldn’t interfere with the content you view or post online.

Without Net Neutrality, cable and phone companies could carve the internet into fast and slow lanes. An ISP could slow down its competitors’ content or block political opinions it disagreed with. ISPs could charge extra fees to the few content companies that could afford to pay for preferential treatment — relegating everyone else to a slower tier of service. This would destroy the open internet.

Hmm … paying extra fees just to use a service? That sounds familiar *cough* Goodreads *cough*

Fundamentally, what is happening with Netgalley and Goodreads is the same thing as Net Neutrality. Netgalley and Goodreads are prioritising big (American) reviewers over smaller and independent (international) reviewers.

Goodreads and Netgalley are essentially discriminating against international bloggers, and authors as well, by limiting their services.

I can’t believe I even have to say this, but literature isn’t supposed to be accessible to only a certain group of people. 

8. ‘You wouldn’t steal a book’ … or would you?

Sorry, I just really wanted to add that commercial in, but I do have a point, which is this:

PIRACY RATES OF ARCS WILL NOW SKYROCKET

I am not going to get into the argument of whether it’s okay to pirate books if you have a good reason, or whether or not pirating actually hurts the author – that can be a discussion for another time. What I will say is that ARCs already populate book pirating websites – can you imagine how many more ARCs we will see on pirating sites now that only a select few can gain access?

I conducted an experiment: 

I went on a popular book pirating website (I will not name the site, don’t ask), and searched a few YA 2018 titles (obviously these books are ARCs). Here are three ARCs that I found (I did not download them):

  1. The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson
  2. Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner
  3. Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine

Now, it did take me a while to find these ARCs as I typed in quite a few 2018 titles that didn’t show up, but can you imagine how many more ARCs will be put on that site, and others like it, now that international bloggers cannot access ARCs anymore? All it takes is one well-meaning American blogger who is sympathetic. Netgalley and Goodreads are kidding themselves if they think piracy won’t skyrocket.

9. Farewell badges

(This part relates only to Netgalley. It may seem a little silly to you, but I find it important.)

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 4.50.32 pmI don’t know about you, but I love my Netgalley badges. I was over the moon when I discovered I received that elusive 80% feedback badge, and the highly sought after Top Reviewer badge. I was steadily making my way towards the 50 Reviews badge, when I learnt the news about Netgalley.

What I am most upset about, however, is my inability to ever become auto-approved. For those of you who don’t know, when a Netgalley member becomes auto-approved by a publisher, that means the member can instantly access any ARC from that particular publishing company. It’s a great way to create strong relationships and connections with people in the publishing industry.

But now that Netgalley has restricted the ARCs we can request – and has forced us to ‘Wish’ for them instead – we will never have the chance to become auto-approved. We can also kiss all the other badges goodbye.

10. Is this even legal?

I am a Master of Publishing and Communications student, so I still don’t fully understand the ins-and-outs of the publishing world yet, but is what Netgalley (specifically) doing even legal?

Does Netgalley have the right to make a decision FOR a publisher in regards to who is able to access ARCs? Do publishing companies even know what Netgalley is doing?

From my understanding, Netgalley is a ‘connection point‘ – a bridge, if you will – where publishers can connect with readers, librarians, bloggers, etc., through the site. Netgalley is the middleman, but the publisher is the one who makes the final decision as to who gains access to ARCs. NOT Netgalley.

So what are they doing?

For me, all of this boils down to three possible explanations on behalf of Netgalley and Goodreads.

  1. They are going broke
    When a company begins withdrawing their services, or cutting back on certain things, it means that they are not as affluent as they once were. And this makes sense: usually a company starts out small and then expands to an international market, but Netgalley and Goodreads are doing the opposite.
  2. They are getting greedy
    Or perhaps Netgalley and Goodreads are perfectly stable and they want to reduce their services to save money. (Looking at your Goodreads, with your $600 giveaway packages.) They’ve made their money and they don’t want to waste anymore on an international market that is too expensive.
  3. It’s Amazon
    Could this be the influence of Amazon? We already know that Amazon owns Goodreads, is it possible that the company has set its sites on Netgalley too? I mean, a majority of the ARCs available on Netgalley are dispersed via Amazon …
What do you think?

On Netgalley’s website is the declaration that they ‘provide resources to bloggers and reviewers’. Similarly, on Goodreads’*** site, they claim that their mission is to help people find and share books they love.

Their recent decisions prove the exact opposite of their site statements. 

I reach out to Netgalley and Goodreads to rethink their decisions and come up with alternatives. You are alienating your International market – a market, I might add, that is far bigger and has a larger reach than the American market.

Please do better.

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What do you think about Netgalley and Goodreads’ decisions? Will you be affected? Do you have an explanation? Let me know!

***Fill out this survey to express your discontent with Goodreads’ giveaway program.

176 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Netgalley and Goodreads

  1. amberry books says:

    Thank you for writing this. You did an amazing job and I really think that in the right hands this letter could make a difference. Bravo! Your points were exactly right and quite frankly it’s scary it needs to be said. I hope you go viral. 🖤

    Liked by 3 people

    • thebookcorps says:

      Thank you so much, and thank you for reflagging! Honestly, I would love it if Goodreads and Netgalley read the letter – here’s hoping 🙏🏼. But you’re right – it is scary, and I can’t believe its come to this point. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jolien @ The Fictional Reader says:

    I couldn’t agree more with all of this. As an international reviewer, you’re already at a disadvantage. I live in Belgium, so my blog has been based on e-ARCS for quite a while. This year was the first year I got physical ARCs -because I spent quite some money to go to YALC in London. The fact that I can afford to do so is already a privilege. I’ve been blogging for three years, which means that 2.5+ of those years I’ve been relying on e-ARCS. I just don’t understand why they would do it? Not only is it extremely upsetting for all us international readers out there, it must affect the sales of the books as well!

    Thank you for writing this clear post on this issue. I’m really upset after finding out yesterday, and it’s good to see others addressing this. Will definitely share!

    Liked by 2 people

    • thebookcorps says:

      Thank you so much!!!! I only ever get e-ARCs, even when I email my Aussie publishers directly, so when I found out Netgalley was limiting their range of ARCs for international people, I was incredibly upset. I just got my first ARC too but only because I got it in the Fairyloot box for November 😂. I would honestly love to go to YALC, that’s amazing that you could go!
      But yes you’re right – so many, many people rely on Netgalley for e-ARCs and also just to read in general. There are many rural places in many countries were access to libraries or book stores isn’t as common as with larger cities, and so many people would reply on Netgalley and other online sites for books. I definitely think this would effect book sales – 9/10, I request an ARC because I saw a fellow blogger talking about it, and then I read it, review it and have people commenting on my review telling me they’re going to buy the book now. If even 1 person buys that book because of an ARC review, surely thats a good thing?
      Thank you again!!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. TeacherofYA says:

    I agree with you on every part but the BFT tag…I trade internationally sometimes and it’s only because of the shipping that I don’t do it more. The U.K. has what’s called Royal Mail – you can send to us for £8? Something around that amount. When I try to mail ANYWHERE outside of the US, the starting price for shipping is $22.75!! It’s expensive! Canada is the same, too! Trust me, I WANT to trade with U.K. and AUS people because they have some pretty neat copies of ARCs…plus I have many friends who don’t get the books I get and I would love to mail them an ARC or two when I get them! It’s so frustrating.
    Other than that, I 100% agree and I have already planned to share this post with others because this is legit not cool. Not cool at all: you guys are getting the shaft hard. Many of my reviewing friends are not in the US…I’m not happy about this decision at all and I hope with some outreach and outrage it might change!

    Liked by 2 people

    • thebookcorps says:

      I didn’t mean it to come across like that! I do know that there are many American bloggers who trade for arcs internationally, and trust me I know how expensive it is to send overseas (companies act like Australia is Narnia, I swear). However, America (and England) does have a much greater advantage of gaining access to physical ARCS than many other countries do – although, like I mentioned, that’s not their fault. America has a booming publishing industry. That’s why so many of us international people rely on Netgalley, which is why I am devastated that the one good website (Edelweiss is tricky sometimes) is being restricted to us. 😦

      Thank you so much for reblogging this Steph! It means the world to me!! (And I’m also glad an American blogger enjoyed this 💕)

      Liked by 1 person

      • TeacherofYA says:

        Yes of course! I completely agree with what you’re saying!! This is so wrong on so many levels and I’m signing whatever petitions are out there – the US is not the only place for bloggers (some of the really good ones aren’t in the US anyway! 😉) so they need to stop limiting ARCs to our INTL bloggers. At least digital ones should be available!!
        My two closest friends, Sammi and Tiffany, are both from outside the US: Australia and the U.K. Currently I am making a care package for Sammi, and Tiff will get one too. They have had help by winning giveaways in order to receive physical galleys, but now that Goodreads is out of the game so to speak, it’s just going to make it harder on them.
        No one wins here. I hope they see that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • thebookcorps says:

        I understand how hard it can be to send physical arcs overseas, but you’re right, at the very least e-arcs should remain available.
        That’s so sweet that you’re making them a care package!!
        Lol I have never won a giveaway before, but now my chances are much more limited than they were before!!
        I hope Netgalley and Goodreads see what they have done and make changes. It’s not fair.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Adoptabookaus says:

    I knew about the goodreads crap but I didn’t know netgalley was pulling back on international earcs?! I was actually rejected from a heap of titles recently even though I have a 80-90% rate and 40+ reviewed and I wonder if this was why, although I am in Australia which doesn’t have a huge publishing industry compared to america but I do have access to arcs most people wont have. I agree with the US centric views on books I remember a reviewer complaining about not understanding Aussie language… look it up like everyone else has to do with all the US books we don’t know what freshman is googles a friend 🙄 and that’s just a slight difference in language (both being English speaking countries) I’d much rather an Italian reviewer review an Italian based book, otherwise how would I realise if it was actually good or bad where we live is always going to influence our views.
    Fantastic discussion, thank you for putting so much effort into this post 💕💕

    Liked by 2 people

    • thebookcorps says:

      Yep! I think they’ve been doing it for a few weeks now, but people have just started to notice. They haven’t made an official announcement yet, which has made even more people angrier.
      That’s ridiculous that you’re being rejected!! I can request about 10% of what I used to, and I’ve had requests pending for 2-3 months now. That never used to happen before.
      I’m in Australia too! I find it so hard to get physical copies of ARCs because Aussie publishing companies don’t have many to give out and the ones they do, they give to big Aussie reviewers, so I really relied on Netgalley.
      I saw a tweet once where an Aussie author (I forget which one) explained that her book had to be “translated” otherwise American readers wouldn’t understand the book. So they took out any Aussie slang and references, which is so upsetting to me. You’re right – I have to google what a freshman is and stuff like that. Why can’t Americans google Aussie stuff?
      Thank you so much!!! 😀

      Liked by 2 people

      • Adoptabookaus says:

        Yep I went to a panel and heard frankie by shivaun ploza was being changed?! Like that’s great because it’s so Aussie stop messing with our books people can look up what year 12 is ffs 😅 Also I think the Sidekicks might have had changes too? I’m planning on getting a US copy eventually and see how different it is. Also is Aussie slang realllly that hard? Like I I saw someone complain about the word doona does context mean nothing? I get in bed and snuggle under my doona is obviously going to be a blanket 😂 We had to learn Shakespeare in highschool and ridiculous words I think US can deal with some slang and S’s instead of z’s

        Liked by 1 person

      • thebookcorps says:

        It’s so ridiculous! That kind of behaviour perpetuates the idea that Americans can’t relate to anything that is not American. 😂 Oh my gosh, doona. Really? How hard is that to figure out? I had to learn trunk meant boot, so.
        Yes, exactly! if we can learn Shakespeare, surely American’s can learn a little slang?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Michelle 🌈 says:

    This is such a well-written post! I hope Netgalley and Goodreads read this. Honestly it’s ridiculous. I’ve seen people say that it might have to do with rights in Netgalley’s case, but why wasn’t that a problem before?

    Liked by 2 people

    • thebookcorps says:

      Thank you so much! I would love it if they managed to read this post so they understand the ramifications of their actions.
      I’m not too sure what Netgalley’s problems are because they haven’t said anything, but it may have something to do with rights. I know that I used to be able to only request books from certain publishers because they don’t have the rights to distribute the book internationally, but now it’s changed to ‘wishes’ for almost every single book. But you’re right – why is it only becoming a problem now?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Caro @ bookcheshirecat says:

    Thank you so much for writing this post, I could not have said it better! Ever since hearing of the new developments I have been very angry and disappointed, because we international readers are already disadvantaged and now this? It feels even more bitter. I am trying my best to not let this affect my love for blogging and reading, but nevertheless it’s upsetting and frustrating.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. thecursedbooks says:

    Thank you so much for writing this post, you put my words and thoughts perfectly in this detailed post where you pointed out all the issues. I try to calm down about this issue and maybe I will write a post about this issue too because our opinions have to be voiced!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. insidemylibrarymind says:

    All of this massively sucks and you really eloquently explained why. I find it so weird that there’s no announcement of any kind on Netgalley or anywhere online about why they did this. It’s so annoying. You’re completely right about everything you said – us international bloggers have fewer opportunities as is – this just ruins those few we do get. I wanted to mention that I can request all books on netgalley.co.uk (I am not from the UK). Maybe that’s worth a shot, but unfortunately, some of my other blogging friends had no luck there either. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebookcorps says:

      Thank you!!
      Yeah, the more I think about it, the more annoyed I get that Netgalley hasn’t made any sort of announcement. That’s beyond rude to their loyal International members.
      Thank you for letting me know. I’ll give Netgalley UK a try and see it that works.
      Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Krysta says:

    Publishers often can’t give ARCs to international readers because of territorial rights. It’s actually illegal for them in some cases to do this. I understand that international bloggers are upset that they don’t have the same access to U.S. products that U.S. readers do. However, I think we should also understand that we can’t expect publishers to break the law in order to please fans.

    I understand this is an unpopular opinion and that, as a U.S.-based reader, my opinion probably won’t be welcomed. However, I do understand that it’s annoying not to be able to receive books you want. There have been books published in Canada and the U.K. that I have wanted and have not been able to purchase in the U.S. because of shipping costs, etc. Sometimes you just don’t have access to products from other places and it’s sad. Still, I wish more bloggers would do research into the legal issues surrounding ARCs before they point fingers at publishers.

    Like

    • thebookcorps says:

      Thank you for expressing your opinion, but I don’t believe you quite understood mine. I’m not asking publishers to break the law in order to please international markets, nor am I pointing the finger at publishers as I made very clear in my letter. In fact, I even asked if publishers are aware of what Netgalley is doing with their books. Also, I understand that publishers can’t give access to ARCs to international readers for a myriad of reasons.

      Do you use Netgalley? If you do, then perhaps as a US-based reader you’ve never experienced Netgalley in the way that I and many other international members do. Essentially, whenever I would go to request a book on Netgalley that was “outside of my region”, I still had the opportunity to request it. Netgalley just had a warning letting me know that the publisher might not be able approve me for it, but I STILL had the option to request anyway, and once I was even approved for a book outside my region. Now Netgalley has removed that option completely. Out of the many books I was once able to request, 10% are left available to me. It’s not just “annoying” as you said. It’s unfair and alienating to a massive international community that is already so disadvantaged in the book world.

      The fact remains that American bloggers and readers have always, and will always, receive more advantages than international bloggers. As I mentioned many times in my post, that is not your fault and I’m not blaming you – America has a booming publishing industry. But I wish you would be able to understand my opinion, and the opinions of almost every other international reader, before reducing my argument down to sheer annoyance that I can no longer read a few books. That’s not what this is about at all.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. Melanie Noell Bernard says:

    RAWWWWWR! I am so angry! (I signed the petition) and I plan to post something to my blog and social media because this is absurd! Does Goodreads really not understand the severe consequences of doing this? Do they not understand that they are going to lose authors and business and someone else is likely to make a new site that’s like Goodreads w/out the prices? And until then there are going to be tiers of authors with those who have more money will be at the top and be able to bring in more readers while those with less money will be stuck promoting in the U.S. or on less well-known platforms other than Goodreads?!

    I’m not angry. I’m completely and utterly baffled that Goodreads has fallen to the capitalism that is taking over America. Just… absurd. And I’m not even a self-pubbing author!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Melanie Noell Bernard says:

      P.s. Thank you for posting this, Laura. I have decided that I, too, need to do my part to help support this cause and fight against GoodReads, which is why I have shared your petition on my blog in my own post. I hope that’s alright (I have linked back to your blog so everyone can find you and your post, as well.) If there is more I can do to fight this, please let me know. I’m happy to support authors and readers alike. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • thebookcorps says:

      It’s so terrible isn’t it!! It’s completely unfair what they are asking authors to do. Those authors that don’t have the backing of a publishing company are essentially screwed.
      I have heard people talk about this app called Litsy that is being compared to Goodreads. Maybe that might take over?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Melanie Noell Bernard says:

        Even if you are indie pubbed you’re still screwed. Indie publishers do not have the monetary funds that the Big 5 have. It’s just absurd and unrealistic and it’s going to cause so many issues! If I could boycott GoodReads I would! (But I’d need another book database first.)

        Hahaha! *needs to read full comments before writing* :p YES! I’ll check it out!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Vicky Who Reads says:

    I think it’s absolutely terrible this is happening. I’m fortunate enough to be a blogger in the U.S. but the really bad thing is that their decisions aren’t even justified. What’s the point? To make money off of authors who already pour their heart and soul into their book–who now need to add a bucketload of cash to promote their book? And the Netgalley issue is especially stupid because e-arcs are basically free to give out, and limiting your reviewers to America only is really bad.

    I also didn’t know that there was the pirating issue! That’s absolutely terrible. I hope they have a way of finding the people who uploaded their DRCs, which they were entrusted with on the premise of honesty, to review and not share.

    What is the world coming to?

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebookcorps says:

      Thank you!! It’s already hard as an international blogger because we often don’t have the same opportunities as US bloggers, and now they’re making it even more difficult. I’m very annoyed at the Goodreads giveaway – they’re really taking advantage of international authors and it’s unfair.
      Yep pirating is a massive issue!! It’s so sad how easy it is to find an ARC online. ARCs are a privilege and one we should treat with respect. It’s so bad to see people ruining books for authors like that.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Ashley Evans says:

    Regarding point #2: it’s not necessarily a cost issue; it’s a rights issue. And because of that, it’s most likely the publishers’ doing – not NetGalley. NetGalley is probably just helping them enforce those rights.

    Usually when a book is published, the publisher only gets rights to distribute the book in certain countries. So in the case of a US publisher, they almost always are only allowed to distribute the book (both physical and ebooks) in the country they are publishing (the US).

    So what I suspect has happened here is that NetGalley simply improved their tools for customizing dashboards based on users’ locations (i.e. hide the “request” button if a publisher lists the book for US only and you reside outside the US) and has made it easier for publishers to see a user’s country.

    Don’t get me wrong: I absolutely hate these stupid international licensing laws. It’s exactly the same for Netflix. There are different shows on Netflix for every country. UK Netflix supposedly has half the number of shows available as the US Netflix. It’s because Netflix is only allowed to show certain shows in certain countries when they license them. Same deal.

    It’s also the same reason why someone with a Kindle registered in the UK then can’t buy ebooks on the US Amazon website.

    Anyway, I agree it’s very frustrating, I just wanted to clarify that it’s very likely due to publishers choosing a setting to make it available in their regions only, and NetGalley probably improved their technology to assist with that. It’s probably not really NetGalley’s fault and if we want to see change we actually have to fight everything related to publishing rights, which is far more complicated. 😦

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Angelica (TheBookCoverGirls) says:

    I only just found about about this like 30 minutes ago and I honestly can’t believe it’s happening. Other than money or greed, it just make no logical sense to me for why they would limit it to the US. Especially eARCs that cost literally nothing to send out! I’m so sorry that international bloggers now have to deal with this. I hope people keep talking about this and I hope Goodreads and NetGalley change their minds.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Ally Writes Things says:

    This is such a great post! I couldn’t agree more with what you said. It makes no sense to restrict access to e-ARCs. They don’t cost anything to send, so why restrict it? People are already pushing for more diversity, so why restrict who can review a book? It’s so frustrating.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. –A Court of Books– says:

    I can’t believe this is true! I live in France and we already have a great disadvantage; it’s hard to have translated book. It takes up to 4 years to a book to be translated and sometimes they just stop right in the middle of a series. So most of us had to learn to read in English, and if that wasn’t enough now we can’t get arcs? I mean I try every year to go to book fairs but with the flight tickets that’s way too expensive for me. So yeah basically Netgally was my last chance (and I already noticed that more and more books were for US citizen only).
    Thank you for your article! I’m reblogging it right away!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebookcorps says:

      Thank you for commenting! I can’t even imagine how hard it is to wait for a book to be translated into your native language, and it’s even worse when they sometimes stop. I have many friends overseas who have had to learn English just so they could read a majority of books, which is just so unfair. Netgalley is basically the last option for a lot of people, and now we won’t even have that 😦
      Thank you for commenting!!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. –A Court of Books– says:

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    It makes me sad and mad at the same time. It’s not like international reader already have difficulties having access to English books.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. bookprincessreviews says:

    Wow, Laura, wow! I had no clue that this was happening, but that sounds like the most ridiculous idea that Netgalley and Goodreads could have done. As you said, international bloggers/reviewers provide so much to this community and are an integral part of it – yet these companies decide to due this? You’re so right that international bloggers/reviewers give a different perspective and a very important one. I’m with you – wouldn’t you want bloggers from everywhere talking about your book and not just Americans?

    I particularly don’t understand the e-ARCs. Shipping in America to other countries really is outrageous, which I can see some hesitation – but if the authors are paying for it, then why does it matter? And eARCs really don’t cost a thing to send to international people, why limit??? It makes no sense, and I’m so sorry that this is happening to the international community. I hope Goodreads and Netgalley read this open letter, because you make such well-backed, well-done, and well-explained arguments. It really doesn’t make much sense, and I hope it all changes.

    Wonderfully written, Laura! Will be sharing! And so sorry again that everyone not in the US has to go through this now.

    Liked by 2 people

    • thebookcorps says:

      Thank you Mandy!!
      It makes no sense to me to only get US perspectives on books, and yep, e-ARCs are so easy to send, so why restrict what international members can request? And yeah – if an author pays for the shipping costs, what’s the problem? Why raise the cost of giveaway packages to $600?!? What about indie authors, or authors that don’t have the backing of an established press?
      Thank you for your kind words!!

      Like

  18. Sofii @A Book. A Thought. says:

    Thank you very much for taking the time to write this incredible and informative post. As International Book Blogger I’m so sad with everything that is happening, I love what I do and I feel that this is so unfair for all of us, we were always aware of the difficulties we would have as internationals and even so, we decided to create our space to share our love for reading. Our content is as valuable as anyone’s. I really hope that the NetGalley’s people give us some explanation because this is ridiculous, I mean, we all understand that sometimes it is not possible to send a physical book to our homes, it’s expensive and we’re all perfectly aware of them, but e-ARCs?!, I mean, WHY?. This is so ridiculous, we deserve a better treat and a greater respect. Again, thanks for the post, it’s great that we can share with everyone what is happening

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebookcorps says:

      Thank you!! Its much harder to be an international blogger and I feel like many companies – and even some American bloggers – ignore that fact. Now it’s going to be twice as hard. I had someone tell me today that they got a publishing job because of their blog – which is something I am aiming for – but how will I do that now that I can’t read ARCs? Not to mention all the International people who use Netgalley as the one place they can get books.
      Thank you!

      Like

  19. tornpagesandroses says:

    This is absolutely heartbreaking. I do live in Canada so it’s not like I am from somewhere farther from the US but that just sucks that they have to restrict it like that. I read as a hobby and sometimes blog about my thoughts on books so I wouldn’t say I’m fully dependent on the ARCs but for those of you that blog heavily it is absolutely infuriating me that they’re alienating the rest of the world like that. I really hope with more people talking about it they’ll cancel the whole thing because of how ridiculous it is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebookcorps says:

      It’s so terrible!! I feel you so much – I work really hard on my blog and ARC reviews are a big portion of my traffic. This may seem silly to some people and I’m glad you understand. Blogging is important to a lot of us. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Sofii @A Book. A Thought. says:

    Reblogged this on A Book. A Thought. and commented:
    For those who aren’t aware of what is happening, NetGalley, a platform used by all of us, has decided to prevent International bloggers/readers from requesting any of their titles, only “wish” for them. On the other hand Goodreads has decided, as of January, that their Giveaways stop to be internationals, they’ll only be for US residents.

    Personally as an international blogger this makes me feel deeply sad, my blog has just completed its first year, I love this community is full of wonderful people and the only thing I’ve always wanted is to share my love for reading with all of you, I will never give up with this, I have a lot of fun here and it’s something that gives me great satisfaction to do, Plus: I really love you all so much, but even so, what is happening is undoubtedly unfair, we deserve something better.
    From the beginning as an international you know that there’ll be alot of difficulties in the way, you know that you have to work harder to become relevant, and even then, most of us have tried it anyway, because we feel passionate about what what do we do. Right now I feel a lot of disappointment,I think our work and content is as valuable as anyone’s, we love what we do and we deserve more respect from these people.

    I really would like you to read this post, Laura has done an excellent job explaining in detail what is happening.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Beware Of The Reader says:

    Now Laura a question about Netgalley: isn’t it related to the fact that they now have Netgalley” US” then Netgalley “UK” and Netgalley “France”? Aren’t we supposed to go to our “Europeans” Netgalley? Problem is once UK will be out of Europe I doubt Netgalley France will have books in English…

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebookcorps says:

      My bad! I used the word ‘petition’ but it’s actually a survey from Goodreads itself. It’s more for authors, but anyone can complete the survey to let GR know that they’re not happy with the changes. Thanks for pointing it out to me (proofreading is a thing, LAURA!)

      Liked by 1 person

  22. femaleinferno says:

    Such a sad state of affairs your article is highlighting. I don’t really get involved with Netgalley, but I do love Goodreads – but to hear how they are both limiting the reach to their audience participation is disheartening. I live in Australia and have difficulty in getting access to many novels, let alone not having to pay a reasonable price. Sometimes I can pay close to $50 for a paperback, including shipping…. So I do a lot of shopping around in store and online to find the best price. I’ve entered Goodreads giveaways over 5 years and never won anything. So getting to buy the novel I want is already enough of a challenge.
    One day I’d like to launch my own novel and definitely had both Goodreads and Netgalley in mind as a part of my marketing campaign – and now with their reach great reduced, I won’t even be able to use these platforms to launch in my own country. Or reach audiences that I already converse with through the site and blogging. It really feels like they are excluding us because we don’t matter.
    This action has to be motivated by money.
    I just hope they reverse their decision or another solution grows to fill the gap.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebookcorps says:

      Thank you for commenting Casey! I live in Australia too, so I understand everything you’ve had to go through with trying to access/buy books. I too have never won a giveaway on Goodreads and I’ve had an account on that site for almost 8 years – but now I have absolutely zero chance of winning anything. But the main people affected by Goodreads is definitely authors, especially those that don’t have the backing of an established press. You’re 100% right : they’re essentially saying that we don’t matter.
      I wish you all the best with launching your own novel! I hope that Netgalley and Goodreads reconsider their decisions because it will affect so many people, readers and authors alike.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. EM Sky - Dragon Authors says:

    We send physical ARCs to bloggers all over the world. Bloggers can join the mailing list at dragonauthors.com — just follow the blog by email, and we’ll let you know when we have a new book coming out. We’re hoping people will sign up, since our Goodreads and NetGalley options are about to be severely limited. Thank you so much for your support!! 💖

    Like

  24. Amy @ Bursting with Books says:

    This is super interesting. I had heard a little bit about this, but not the specifics, so I didn’t really understand what was going on. But I entirely agree with you; it’s not fair and it’s not acceptable. Now, I’m not going to lie, these changes probably WON’T affect me, for various reasons. 1) I’m a US blogger (most obvious, duh), 2) I don’t get things from Goodreads giveaways, and 3) I’ve honestly not had any luck getting physical ARCs in the past anyway. I know it’s a lot closer than it is for some people, but the US is still a pretty big country, and I’m not able to make it to the big book conventions. And I’ve yet to get a response from any physical ARC requests. So I guess what I’m saying is, I understand that some (maybe even the majority) of US bloggers are more privileged, but not all? I wish that was address occasionally. But I also hope I don’t sound too snobby, because I’m sympathetic to the cause (obviously international bloggers are just as good/sometimes better than various US bloggers), and the whole situation just doesn’t make sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebookcorps says:

      You don’t sound snobby at all!! Honestly, I thought people would take my letter the wrong way – as in I’m complaining about not being able to read, but aside from a few people insinuating that, the response from this community has been amazing. This issue really goes deeper once you think about what cutting off our access to ARCs actually means. I hope I explained that!
      The thing with Netgalley is we don’t get access to physical ARCs, just e-ARCs which is why many people are confused as to the reason why a lot of our access has suddenly been restricted.
      Trust me, I understand that many Americans also struggle to get access to ARCs. My point is that at least Americans have the option – they have stronger access than we ever will, even before Netgalley restricted our access. (I really hope my post doesn’t come across as anti-American. That wasn’t my intent at all. I’m simply expressing my discontent and disappointment in an industry that seems to determined to leave international bloggers behind.)
      Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amy @ Bursting with Books says:

        Haha glad to hear it! No, not at all; I definitely didn’t read it that way. I agree! It’s limiting your ability as a blogger/internet persona.
        Right, makes sense. I know Netgalley has been super nice in the past and you’re right, I’ve wished for some things a couple of times before- and guess what? No return. So I can imagine that that’s frustrating.
        That makes sense! I get what you’re saying. Of course it’s a challenge to get ARCs no matter where you live, but I’m sure I’m the US there’s a higher chance, as there’s more publishers willing to hand them out. (No, it didn’t- I just see some posts like this start out as a good thing and end up bashing the “mainstream” people, and I always end up feeling disappointed, because that’s just as bad. But you handled it very well!)
        Absolutely!

        Liked by 1 person

  25. bookscoffeeandpassion says:

    Reblogged this on Books, Coffee & Passion and commented:
    It doesn’t matter if you’re an international reviewer/blogger or a US reiewer/blogger, if you’re an US author or an international author, this should be shared and reblogged by all of us. Both NetGalley and Goodreads choices are changing our community, unfortunately they’re not improving anything. Let’s speak up and say that this is not ok.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Briana says:

    I admit I’m not really sure what Goodreads’s aim is here. Obviously they want to make money by charging to list giveaways, but I have no idea why they care whether publishers/authors want to host international giveaways or not.

    On the topic of Netgalley, I think it would be helpful for them to issue a statement because there seems to be a lot of confusion and speculation around the issue right now.

    I will say–and this has been completely overlooked in many of the conversations that I have seen–that in very, very many cases publishers legally cannot send ARCs or books to people internationally. When publishers acquire books, they acquire the rights to sell in certain territories. *Maybe* they’re lucky enough to get all world rights to a book; frequently, they do not. A publisher legally may only be able to distribute the book in America, or maybe they can distribute the book in English-speaking countries. But frequently they are not ignoring international bloggers/readers out of spite; they are doing it to stay out of legal trouble.

    For instance, if a publisher is trying to sell, say, Turkish translation rights to a book to a publisher in Turkey, they legally CANNOT send ARCs to Turkey because this would undermine the market. No Turkish publisher will want to buy the rights to publish the book in the country if a bunch of people have already read or own the book. This is part of the reason that it doesn’t matter that Netgalley is about e-ARCs. The problem isn’t that publishers don’t want to pay shipping to send a physical book internationally; the problem is that they literally cannot send you any copy of the book at all, digital or physical or audio or whatever.

    Which is why I’d like to see Netgalley clarify what’s happening. Is it just the “default” that publishers can only work with bloggers from their own country? Is there an option where a US publisher can “opt in” to send the book to bloggers in, say, Canada, the UK, and the Philippines if they have the rights to distribute the book in those countries? Or is Netgalley unilaterally preventing publishers from sending books internationally even when publishers want to and have the legal right to do so?

    Like

    • thebookcorps says:

      I agree with you that Netgalley really needs to issue a statement about the changes they have made, because their silence is not doing them any favours.

      Look I’ve had many people try to explain to me how rights work with ARCs, and as I mentioned in my letter, I am a publishing student so I understand this – I have studied it, in fact.

      There seems to be a lot of confusion as to my intent for this article. I did not write it “out of spite” because I’m upset I can’t read a few books. I wrote it because my ability – and the ability of every other international member – to access ARCs is gone. Up until a month ago, international members could gain access to them. Then suddenly, we couldn’t, and Netgalley hasn’t explained why. For all I know, the rights to sending and receiving ARCs have changed, but Netgalley’s inability to explain to their members is wrong. I don’t know your nationality, but as an Australian Netgalley member, whenever I would go to request a book that was “outside of my region”, I still had the opportunity to request it. Netgalley just had a warning letting me know that the publisher might not be able approve me for it, but I STILL had the option to request anyway. Now Netgalley has removed that option completely. Out of the many books I was once able to request, 10% are left available to me. The rest I have to ‘wish’ for. In the year and a half I have been blogging, I have never had a wish granted – nor has anyone that I know. I know some international members who now can’t request ANY books. And THIS is the problem: the fact that our access to books is suddenly gone.

      My letter is simply a way to explain my disappointment with an industry that seems hellbent on excluding international bloggers and readers – people who are a massive part of the reading community. It’s me explaining why their decisions – that may seem small now – may have a trickle-down effect which I think I’ve explained.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Like

      • Briana says:

        I didn’t think or say the post was written out of spite; however, almost all the comments I have seen have seemed unaware of the fact that publishers literally may not be able to send ARCs to international readers, whether they’d like to or not, so I thought it was worth mentioning.

        Part of me wonders if maybe Netgalley has gotten complaints from publishers that they’re getting “too many” requests from bloggers who are not eligible to read their books. I think, on the reader’s end, there may be a tendency to go “I know I probably won’t get the ARC, but I’ll press the button to request it anyway and see what happens.” As a reader, it seems reasonable; after all, you’re allowed to ask. On the publisher’s end, however, it’s possible they’re receiving hundreds of requests from people who aren’t eligible and they’ve told Netgalley they think it’s not a good use of their time to wade through them. Of course, I’m entirely speculating here, but something like this could be the explanation for any site changes. Hopefully Netgalley will find a way to make the books easily available to all readers who qualify instead of just saying “Ok, UK readers can only request from UK publishers.”

        Like

      • thebookcorps says:

        My apologies, Briana. I misread your post. Sorry, I’ve had so many comments on here, they’re kind of blending together in my head.

        I get what you’re saying about ARC rights, etc., but I don’t think the silence on that particular issue is intentional. I’ve spoken to many international bloggers and readers – some on here, some on GR, some who have DM’d me on Twitter – and they seem to have some sort of understanding about the legalities involved in ARCs, but I (and quite a lot of international people) don’t feel as though that is the main issue. I hate speaking for other people but what I’ve seen so far makes me think they agree with me, but for us the central issue is that fact that our access to any ARCs at all has been severely restricted – even outright disappeared as it has for some people. We used to have access and now we don’t. But why? My letter is also a list of reasons as to why I think both companies should reconsider their decisions. At the end of the day, international bloggers and readers are already disadvantaged and these decisions really put the icing on the cake.

        To be honest, I did entertain that possibility because it seems like a valid one. It can be difficult to wade through so many requests for books when the person requesting is not even eligible. Perhaps Netgalley could come up with a better system of filtering out requests that won’t be approved instead of restricting all international members? Like what Edelweiss does? How you have to write a little summary as to why you want to read this particular book? Edelweiss also has a little box in the corner that tells you how strong your profile is and the chances of you being approved with that profile. Netgalley could take a page from their book.
        Here’s hoping they do better.

        Like

  27. booksandlovealways says:

    This is so great! Thank you for speaking up on this issue that’s affecting so many of us in the community ! I hope Goodreads and Netgalley find it within their hearts to hear us out.
    “Contrary to popular belief, America is not the only country in the world.” —-> Brilliant. I say this at least three times a month.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Mima says:

    This is horrible news!!

    However, if there is one thing I know about this community, it is how brilliant we all are. Perhaps this simply means the time is ripe for a new website/middle man for giveaways and review copies?

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Tyson Adams says:

    Like others, I wasn’t aware that this had happened. But now that you mention it, I had noticed less traction being gained with US and UK publishers when requesting reviews, and the Wish button appearing on some books (most recently on Andy Weir’s new one).

    While I’m not that concerned, as I have a limited ability to become a top reviewer, it does reinforce that “American exceptionalism” stereotype that we all hate. They really do seem to be unaware that the rest of the world exists and matters.

    I propose that the push-back from the reviewing community should be to forego US books (US reviewers joining us would be nice) and start reading the offerings from other countries. E.g. Australia has plenty of great authors that should be getting as much press as US authors.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebookcorps says:

      I think it’s been happening slowly, but yesterday morning, my twitter timeline was blowing up with the revelation that many international members can no longer request as many books as we used to (some can’t request at all, just Wish).

      Yes, the ‘American exceptionalism’ stereotype is something that really, really irks me. If you are interested, my close friend wrote an amazing piece on something similar. I did link to her in my letter, but if you’re interested, here’s the link: https://silviareadsbooks.wordpress.com/2017/10/12/discussion-literature-doesnt-exist-in-a-vacuum/

      I agree on a pushback! And you’re right about Aussie authors – I’m Aussie myself, and starting in 2018, I’ll be prioritising Australian books over all others.

      Thank you for commenting!!

      Liked by 1 person

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